What is the Montessori Method?

As many of you know, I am not a fan of the public school system, so my children are attending a small private Montessori school. I wasn’t sure about it at first, but now that my oldest son has been in Montessori school for 3 years, I may become a Montessori evangelist. I have seen kids who do not test as “Gifted and Talented” but perform at the mid-college level across all subjects by 12 years old – too many for it to be a coincidence. What is even more amazing is that these schools seem to produce an uncanny number of professional athletes and entrepreneurs as well. Kids are capable of far more than we expect from them and they are happier when we allow them to learn and grow unimpeded. I highly recommend you watch this story if you are interested in non-traditional educational choice. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Montessori is not a religion
  • It’s for all children – not just gifted or special needs children
  • The whole key to it is the children are in charge of their own process. The adults have to inspire them, guide them, but get out of the way
  • They are free to choose which activities to pursue and to determine how long they wish to pursue them. The adults in the room simply offer ‘demonstrations’ aimed at spurring the child’s interest
  • Montessori is about real work
  • To see that goodness in the joy in physical work and the joy in nature
  • They are not taught to regard teachers as ultimate authority figures and Montessori kids feel free to be critical
  • Montessori’s vision was really world peace

I look forward to the day when non-government educational choice is available to all children. The answer to our problems is not more government, the answer is more freedom.

9 thoughts on “What is the Montessori Method?”

  1. I have to say I’m a big Montessori fan, too, Steve. I went to a Montessori for pre-school, and wish to heck that my parents had kept me in that system. The transition to public school was rough- only because I was two years ahead in most subjects- by the first grade! I have a vague memory of being bewildered at the slow pace and “I can do that already… what else?” or something like that…

    Bravo for you for being able to and choosing to, with the Montessori.

  2. I loved this post, especially the very last sentence.

    As a former teacher, I will tell you that it is impossible to force anyone to learn. If kids are interested in something, they will learn everything they can about it on their own. Because our educational system attempts to cram a “balanced” diet of subjects down kids’ throats, they get burnt out and learning is no longer fun. Letting kids learn is infinitely more effective than making kids learn.

  3. As someone who went through this method, I can tell you that all I remember about that early stage of education is being bored.

  4. Both of my kiddos went to Montessori preschools. My older one flourished, and experienced what people are saying here…being way ahead of his peers in public school. I wish the school he had went to would have continued into the upper grades!

    On the other hand, it wasn’t for my younger son at all. I believe this was due to the individual school, however. His boisterous personality wasn’t a good fit, and he was actually constrained from doing activities that he is gifted in.

    So the individual school matters greatly. And, as always, you are so right on about education.

    Like that last sentence. 😀

  5. Great points, anytime the government gets involved with “managing” a program, you can count on it getting mucked up. We need Vouchers!!

    And as for that last line, just be glad that we aren’t getting as much government as we’re paying for!

  6. Hi Edward!

    A man after my own heart! While my son did not have the opportunity to attend Montessori (frankly the cost just never fit in our budget), I did at one time explore being a teacher of this method.

    Kids minds work so differently and they are so open and receptive, it’s too bad “public school” is a brain killer – at least it seems so nowadays.

    While life in general improves over the years, some things (education) seem to be going backward. It’s a total shame.

    School systems like Montessori should be the standard not an “elite.”

    Maybe, just maybe, time will tell!

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